WPT crowns three new champions

The World Poker Tour played catchup this week, hosting three major tournament final tables in three days.

Two of those final tables were a long time coming, as they had originally been scheduled to be played in 2020. The pandemic postponed them indefinitely and it was finally safe enough this week to return to the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas to play down to a champion.

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WPT crowns three new champions: they include…

The first tournament to be concluded this week was the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. The final table was originally supposed to be played on March 31, 2020. The $3,500 tournament began long ago with a 1,290-player field.

The six-player final table included Andrew Hanna, Bin Weng, Nathan Russler, Brian Altman, James Anderson and Veerab Zakarian. They finished in that order with Zakarian claiming his first WPT title.

Zakarian, from Toronto, Canada, cashed $674,840 for the win, which was by far the biggest win of his career, and exceeding his total earnings up to that point.  

A day after Zakarian’s win the PokerGo Studio was reset for the final table of the WPT L.A. Poker Classic. This final table was originally scheduled for April 1, 2020. The $10,000 tournament had a 490-player field.

The six-player final table included Upeshka De Silva, Ka Kwan Lau, Scott Hempel, James Carroll, Matas Cimbolas, and Balakrishna Patur. In the end Patur outlasted them all to claim his first WPT title.

Patur, from New Jersey, pocketed $1,015,000 for the win, which was the first seven-figure cash of his poker career.

The last WPT final table to takeover the PokerGo Studio this week was the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown. This was the first WPT event to be played since the outset of the pandemic, held at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida late last month.

The tournament was a huge success and showed that poker players were itching to get back to the felt after a record-setting 2,482 players put up the $3,500 buy-in for a seat. The massive field led to a $7.9 million prize pool which shattered the $2 million guarantee.

The six-players that made it to the final table at the PokerGo Studio in Las Vegas were Ken Aldridge, Albert Calderon, Sonny Franco, Viet Van Vo, Steven Snyder and Brek Schutten.

Schutten, from Michigan, was the last man standing to claim his first WPT title. He also netted a seven-figure payday with a $1,261,095 cash. Before that win, Schutten’s lifetime earnings were only $384,387.

All three new WPT champions also received an extra $15,000 on top of their tournament winnings. WPT winners usually receive an entry into the $15,000 WPT Tournament of Champions, but since it was cancelled due to the pandemic the WPT paid out $15,000 cash to the winners instead.